Cutting-edge technologies with tech-transfer potential—including better forensic sampling methods, lower-cost methane-leak detection, 3-D printing of steel tools and improved carbon-capture—were among eight presentations made by Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists as part of the 2022 DisrupTECH event.
A joint project between the Laboratory, the Feynman Center for Innovation and the New Mexico Start-Up Factory, the 2022 DisrupTECH was attended either virtually or in person by about 140 entrepreneurs, investors, industry partners, community members and laboratory and regional leaders.
The 2022 DisrupTECH award for Most Fundable Technology went to Manvendra Dubey for Autonomous Low-cost Fast Leak Detection System, a neural-network solution that detects methane gas leaks for petroleum-production facilities. The 2022 DisrupTECH award for Best Pitch went to Vlad Henzl and Ann Junghans for BioGoo, which could revolutionize crime-scene investigations with high-efficiency forensic sampling.
“DisrupTECH is a celebration of the diversity and passion of the research at Los Alamos,” said Henzl. “I have worked at the Lab for 13 years, and I was not aware of 90 percent of the innovations presented today. There are so many cool ideas that may have enormous benefits to society at large.”
During their award-winning presentation, Henzl and Junghans reported that one-third of murder cases go unsolved because there is not sufficient DNA evidence linking the suspect to the crime. This is because DNA collection at crime scenes is done with cotton swabs, which are ineffective on fabric and irregular surfaces. Henzl and Junghans’s technology, BioGoo, is a peel-off coating that can be applied to any surface, then hardens and can be removed—along with any traces of biological evidence. The scientists are seeking not only additional funding and support for controlled benchmarking experiments but also law-enforcement partners to test the effectiveness of their product and hope to have it on the market by 2024.